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Vostell's Piano

Arte Institute suggests "Vostell's Piano: A Fluxus Remembrance", a lecture by Robert C. Morgan at Rooster Gallery.

Wednesday, February 18, 6.30 PM
Rooster Gallery
190 Orchard Street, Lower East Side, NYC

The history of contemporary art prior to the twenty-first century becomes problematic from a New York perspective. This is particularly true when one considers the works of major European artists whose international presence has been virtually ignored.  A clear example would be Wolf Vostell (1932 - 1998).  Fluxus artist and activist inventor of the decollage-style Happening, the source of Vostell’s idea of moving art from the studio into the street has had an impact on at least two generations of younger artists in Europe and, indirectly, America. 
This remembrance, titled Vostell’s Piano, emphasizes the metaphor of the piano as a signifier of culture in ways that complement Fluxus-related artists, such as Josef Beuys and Nam June Paik, in addition to the seminal work of composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Vostell understood the work of each of these artists in terms of breaking down barriers and opening doors of realization – that art was more than defining genres and styles, but an extension of these genres into the realm of happenings.
For Vostell, as made clear in his Heidelberg lecture  (1967), happenings were about confronting the repressive politics of one’s time. In doing so, the artist comes to terms with art as a heightened temporal phenomenon, as a decollage that moves in opposition to the automatic branding of mindless images. Vostell’s Piano is about the happening as a means to situate art as a temporal phenomenon within a given period of time that may appear radical in its dissemblance against the regimentation of imposed order.

Robert C. Morgan is a writer and artist who lectures frequently on the international circuit. Although he functions as a Professor of Art History at Pratt and the School of Visual Arts, his public involvement remains in art and criticism. He is author of The End of the Art World (1998) and the editor of books on Bruce Nauman (2002) and Clement Greenberg: Late Writings (2033). He is translated in 20 languages and, in recent years, has been involved with contemporary Chinese painting in his book, Reflections on the Condition of Recent Chinese Art (Beijing: Hebei Educational Publishers, 2013), translated into Mandarin by Zhu Chunhang. He is the first critic to receive the Arcale Award for International art criticism in Salamanca (1999), and steadily continues his career as a geometric painter, based on the Tao Teh Ching, for more than 40 years.